Home Community Jewish Life at UR builds community through COVID-conscious fall programming

Jewish Life at UR builds community through COVID-conscious fall programming

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The Fall Holidays concluded with the return of UR Hillel’s annual apple-picking trip to Carter Mountain ahead of Sukkot.

Jewish Life at the University of Richmond enjoyed the return of some normalcy on campus this fall with a vibrant array of campus programming despite the lingering challenges of COVID-19.

After welcoming the one of the largest groups of Jewish first-year students in August, Jewish Life continued to engage a record-breaking number of Jewish students through holiday meals and rituals, new education initiatives, and engagement with a robust student board.

The High Holidays set the tone for the year, with festive meals on campus to celebrate Erev Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, and Break the Fast. University Catering worked with the Chaplaincy to ensure all who wished to enjoy a meal could in a safe way.

The dinners were accompanied by special Torah studies, a Shofar service for those unable to attend a service in the community, and a Tashlich ceremony at the University’s Westhampton Lake. Attendance was at an all-time high as students welcomed 5782 together, before taking advantage of a variety of virtual and off-campus service options.

Fall Holidays

The Fall Holidays concluded with the return of UR Hillel’s annual apple-picking trip to Carter Mountain ahead of Sukkot, the building of two Sukkot on campus, and a week of meals in the Sukkah kicked-off by a “Sushi in the Sukkah” event on Monday, Sept. 20.

In October, Hillel marked the return of it’s Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) by launching the new JLF Israel: Home and Homeland curriculum with a cohort of 10 students.

In partnership with Hillel International, this 10-week long initiative provided students with the opportunity to make new friends while developing a contemporary understanding of peoplehood, responsibility, home, and homeland.

Weekly learning was accompanied by a meal, and the cohort also gathered for a special Shabbat and Havdalah throughout the fall.

Hanukkah

The semester concluded in early December following 8 nights of donuts and candle-lighting for Hanukkah. UR Hillel hosted a special campus-wide Hanukkah celebration on the University Forum for the third night, during which the University dedicated a brand-new 6-foot menorah.

Several student leaders participated in the ceremony, and the Hillel Student Oversight Coordinator offered beautiful and moving remarks on the meaning of such a powerful symbol during challenging times.

Amidst the special programming outlined above, the UR Hillel board continued to host spaces for their peers to connect and learn informally, anchored by an enriching

Welcoming Shabbat

Welcoming Shabbat service each week. Shabbat continues to see more student involvement and increased attendance, thanks to the work of a new student-led Shabbat programming committee, whose work will continue in the spring.

For more information about Jewish Life at the University of Richmond, please contact Josh Jeffreys, Jewish chaplain and director of Religious Life, at JJeffrey@richmond.edu.

 

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